Monday, June 06, 2016

I Was There! at Explo ‘72

[This is a cross-post between Mark’s Super Blog and
Spock’s Record Round-Up.  It’s got music AND memories!

Explo ’72 was sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ and took place June 12-17 in areas around Dallas, TX.
 I was a few months shy of my 16th birthday.  I went with a group of perhaps twenty to thirty other kids, on my first bus ride, about a five-hour trip.

If all the others were like me, then age has only improved the Christian behavior of the attendees.  At 15 I wanted to do good and be good.  I wanted to tell people that God loved them.  The only problem, the person trying to express these laudable insights was me! --  an  immature, self-centered (by nature), awkward teenager.  Someone who had little concept of cause-and-effect, and little understanding at how poorly sarcasm and sniping behavior reflected on his so-called King and Prince of Peace.

Thank God for the passage of time and the (somewhat underused) growth and wisdom it can bring!

Apologies aside, the plan was to equip all of us well-meaning youngsters with some evangelistic tools … to learn how to better tell the world that Jesus loved them.  There were plenty of workshops and sitting-around discussions, of which I remember very little.

This sticker was distributed to friends and family beforehand.  My copy is on the front of one of the books I still own from that time, Tales of the Uncanny and Supernatural by Algernon Blackwood (talk about creepy!).

Many evenings there were services in the Cotton Bowl; one featured Billy Graham sermonizing. 
There was a big concert on Saturday, June 17.  Like many musical events of the 1970s, the concert area was bordered by people hawking their wares.

One of the things I came home with -- one of the few items that survive -- is this inflatable pillow.  I can’t recall if it was a freebie or if I paid a buck for it.

The Saturday concert lasted many, many hours.  Our group was only there during the middle of the day, for five or six of those hours.

A few months later, an LP was assembled from some of the performances.  I don’t know if all of these numbers came from the Saturday concert, or if some were recorded during musical parts of the nightly sessions at the Cotton Bowl.

After we came home, we were able to send off a request for the LP.  Here’s the link to a download of a CD burned from my copy:


01 -  Johnny Cash        I See Men as Trees Walkin’     3:26
02      - Armageddon Experience    One Way    3:32
03      - Randy Matthews       Didn't         He     4:26
04      - Andraé Crouch & the Disciples   I'm Satisfied         3:37
05      -Larry Norman           Sweet          Song of Salvation          3:51
06      -Great Commission Company       Anticipation         3:05
07      - Danny Lee & the Children Of Truth - Spread a Little Love Around       2:54
08      - Connie Smith   Plenty of Time      4:12
09      - Forerunners  -    Lord 2:48
10      - Willa Dorsey   I Have the Joy in My Soul       2:40
11      - Love Song  - A Love Song    5:34
12      - The Speer Family      The King Is Coming       3:50

(from Love, Peace, Joy - Myrrh)
13 - 2nd Chapter of Acts - Love Peace Joy   2:30
14 - Malcolm & Alwyn - Fool's Wisdom   3:05
15 - Eddie Robinson - I Give My All to Thee  3:36
16 - Randy Matthews - It Ain't Easy  2:37
17 - Love Song - A Love Song  1:45
18 - Petra - Parting Thought  1:22

The last six tracks are from a sampler LP released by Myrrh records in 1974.

In a mechanism similar to the zip-open tabs seen on cereal packaging, the LP had a flap the folded over from front-to-back and sealed shut with a zip-off strip.

When you zipped the strip open to flip the flap to the right and slide out the LP, there were a few more graphics under the part covered by the folded-over flap.

It’s not surprising that the media noticed this mass invasion of the Dallas area by Jesus freaks.  The general “establishment” view seems to have been, “at least they’re getting together over something positive.”

The only press coverage that I clipped-and-saved was this Newsweek article from its June 26, 1972.  As a student worker in the school library, I was uniquely equipped to pick up on current trends.

It’s not the text of the article that made me keep it.  No, two of my friends are in the photo!
See the two circled girls?  The one on the left is Beth Webb, the circled girl on the right is Sally Sharp.  Like me, both came to Explo from Bartlesville; both attended Sooner High School.

These photos are from the 1972-73 yearbook.

It was great to be gathered together with so many others whose primary intention was to know God, and make him known.  If so many of us were young, raw, and inexperienced, I also know that some of us, at least, have continued in the faith and tried to grow.

Are there any of you, dear readers, with reminiscences of Explo ’72?  I’d love to hear from you.

other articles:


paul howley said...

My first Jesus festival was in 1973. The big one for me was Jesus 1976 in Orlando, Florida. It's really great to be together with thousands of other people interested in a relationship with Jesus! Mark: Did you ever hear any of the music of Christian singer, Mike Johnson? He was a co-founder of The Exkursions, long-considered to be one of the first Christian rock-artists.

Mark Alfred said...

No, Paul, I'm not familiar with him or his music.

paul howley said...

Mike was extremely gifted...his song, Lord Doctor (from one of his early albums) is on YouTube.

Mark Alfred said...

Thanks, Paul -- listening to it now.

Oxypaul said...

My wife attended Explo 72. She is the young lady holding up the picture of Jesus. Today we are missionaries in Spain.

Mark Alfred said...

That's great to hear. As a "Jesus song" I learned in the Seventies goes, "Everybody oughta know who Jesus ie!"

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